Lets review the path to achieve our personal, business and entrepreneurial goals according to my last posts. First we have to define the starting and finishing point, the gap between these two points and the projects we must complete in order to close the gap between them (review the article The path to achieve our goals). Once the projects to diminish the gap have been established we have to prioritize in order to know which ones will be done in the short term and which ones would be executed in the long term. (review the article First things first). Now that its clear the order in which the projects are going to be executed, we can continue by defining the activities and the duration of each one of these activities. For this I am presenting a great tool called the Gantt Chart.
To start using this method we first have to determine the activities that compose each project. In this way we should translate the project in small activities that have to be achieved in order to accomplish the project. Also we must determine the number of resources that would be working on each activity and according to this it is possible to determine the number of days that would be used to complete the activity. Remember that it is very important the variable “number of resources”, because we wont need the same time to complete an activity if we are using 5 resources instead of one.
Now that we know the time that is going to be spent on each activity, we have to take into account two restrictions that are very important in order to construct the diagram. In first place you have to take into account something that apparently is obvious, but that if is not used it can produce big mistakes. An employee can only execute an activity at a time, that’s why we can only assign one activity. Don’t fall in this common mistake!
The other restriction that should be taken into account is the existence of prerequisites for the execution of certain activities. This works basically like when you where at school. You couldn’t go into the next level before you successfully finished the last level.
According to everything I just explained, it is possible to construct the Gantt Chart for your project. For each activity you must determine the starting date, as it was exposed taking into account the limitation in the number of resources and the activities that are prerequisites for other activities. You can use specialized software’s such as Microsoft Project or Open Proj or other software’s such as Excel. When you have finished this you will have a definite schedule of the activities that must be executed in order to execute the project and the total length of this.
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